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Forest Service Supplies Sustenance for Feds Feed Families

This week, USDA and other federal departments and agencies are recognizing the huge success of the 4th annual Feds Feed Families Food Drive. USDA employees, farmers, and friends raised a total of 2.77 million pounds of food this summer!  The U.S. Forest Service was a big part of this effort and the stories below captures a snapshot of how several different Forest Service offices helped fill the shelves of food banks and food pantries in their communities.

In Duluth, Minnesota, the Superior National Forest Supervisor’s Office set a goal of 2,500 pounds for the food drive. As an incentive to encourage their team, Forest Supervisor Brenda Halter and Deputy Supervisor Tim Dabney promised they would wear Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl costumes and greet people in Duluth’s Canal Park if they reached their goal. The staff pulled together and donated 4,500 pounds of food to Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank. With the goal met and far exceeded, the Forest Supervisor and Deputy Supervisor put on the Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl costumes! Read more »

U.S. Beef a Hit With Belgian Chefs

Dutch Chef Eric Troost prepares an upscale dish using U.S. beef during a cooking demonstration for about 130 Belgian chefs Sept. 24. The demo was part of the first U.S. beef tasting event held in Belgium, which was hosted by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in The Hague, Netherlands, and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). The tasting was part of ongoing efforts to help expand U.S. beef exports to the European Union (EU). (Photo courtesy FAS The Hague)

Dutch Chef Eric Troost prepares an upscale dish using U.S. beef during a cooking demonstration for about 130 Belgian chefs Sept. 24. The demo was part of the first U.S. beef tasting event held in Belgium, which was hosted by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in The Hague, Netherlands, and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). The tasting was part of ongoing efforts to help expand U.S. beef exports to the European Union (EU). (Photo courtesy FAS The Hague)

The European Union (EU) is a relatively new market for U.S. beef exports. It wasn’t until August 2009 when the United States began exporting high-quality beef (marbled with a high fat content) to the EU under a negotiated tariff rate quota for non-hormone treated beef. Read more »

Conservation from the Ground Up

The crops growing in the People's Garden at USDA Headquarters benefit from a drip irrigation system that Bob helped design. It is a planned irrigation system where water is applied directly to the root zone so each crop area is watered more uniformly and efficiently.

The crops growing in the People's Garden at USDA Headquarters benefit from a drip irrigation system that Bob helped design. It is a planned irrigation system where water is applied directly to the root zone so each crop area is watered more uniformly and efficiently.

What do lawns, green roofs and electric bills have in common? If you ask Bob Snieckus, the answer is “energy.”

Even though Snieckus stays busy as National Landscape Architect for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), he is also committed to conserving energy and improving sustainability in the Washington, D.C., buildings and landscapes where he works. Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 10/17/12

U.S. Winter Wheat Progress, October 14, 2012

U.S. Winter Wheat Progress, October 14, 2012. (Click to enlarge image.)

Visit www.usda.gov/drought for the latest information regarding USDA’s Drought Disaster response and assistance.

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, valid October 9, nearly two-thirds (63.55%) of the contiguous U.S. remains in drought.  However, this is down nearly two percentage points from the late-September peak of 65.45%, as recent rains across the South and East have chipped away at the drought.  At the same time, drought continues to gradually intensify across the northern Plains, where rangeland and pastures remain in dismal condition and winter wheat emergence has been hampered by a lack of soil moisture. Read more »

US Teens Win Third Prize at International Jr. Foresters’ Competition

While most teens were enjoying a much deserved summer break, South Tahoe High School seniors Emily Barnett and Tyler Myers were prepping for an international competition. With the support of their teacher and Forest Service (FS) employees, they presented their field research project, “The Effects of Fire and Forest Thinning on the Biodiversity of Understory Plants in the Lake Tahoe Basin,” at the 9th Annual International Junior Foresters’ Competition.

Apparently hard work does pay off…they won Third Prize amongst 52 projects presented by students from around the world. The students were honored during a concert celebrating “Day of the Forest Worker” in Moscow, during which the host and Head of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency, V.N. Maslyakov, presented their prizes.

The competition held Sept. 12_14, is an annual event that brings together young scientists from many nations to promote and reward their efforts in the environmental field and encourage international dialogue concerning forestry issues.  This year, close to 100 students from 35 countries competed.  The students’ projects (a written report and a 10 minute presentation) were judged by an international panel of fifteen forestry experts.  This was the first time the United States participated in the competition. Read more »

Early Warning and Detection System to Help New Mexico Communities

Buck Mountain precipitation gage with solar panel, radio stand, and electronics—Whitewater Baldy Complex Fire, N.M.

Buck Mountain precipitation gage with solar panel, radio stand, and electronics—Whitewater Baldy Complex Fire, N.M.

New Mexico experienced in June two catastrophic wildfires—the Whitewater Baldy Complex Fire and the Little Bear Fire. One consequence of those fires has been flash flooding. Water runs off more quickly during rainstorms in areas where fires have stripped the landscape. These floods can happen with very little notice, endangering communities downstream. Read more »